Re: [GRRN] Values-Driven Recycling -Reply -Reply

Bill Carter (
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 15:39:22 -0500

Bill McGowan,

You are right, the overheated market for ONP in 1994-95 was a big
factor in manufacturers backing off from their plans for new deinking
plants. It was one of those cases of bad timing and poor coordination --
as the mills were racing each other to gear up new capacity, local ONP
recycling programs were shrinking, collapsing, and shutting down
because of the dismal prices of 1989-93. By the time they began
opening their new deinking plants, the mills found the collection
infrastructure significantly weakened and local policy-makers wary of
promises of better times ahead.

I would argue that much of the industry also over-reacted in dumping
their deinking plans, when they could have partnered with local
communities to revitalize and expand their collection programs, as
Champion and Weyerhauser did in Texas. Champion even began
sourcing and inventorying ONP well before its new deinking units
opened, to help some of the local programs stay afloat.

There are many factors influencing ONP prices. One of the biggest
factors historically has been the construction industry and its fluctuating
demand for wallboard backing and many other products that can be
made using ONP as a supplemental feedstock. In past decades, mills
using ONP to make newsprint, and plants specifically designed to use
ONP as a primary feedstock in making any product, were a smaller factor
in the overall demand for ONP.

Re: the "postconsumer content" issue. Texas rules departed from the
more stringent standards of EPA and others, and defined "postconsumer
recycled content" to include essentially all newsprint that had been
deinked. The thinking was that the main issue is to create demand for
deinking capacity, and that the distinction between truly "post-user"
newspapers and the returns & overruns recovered by the publishers
was not important enough to justify keeping separate records. It's pretty
easy to document what fiber has been deinked and what hasn't.

Bill Carter